How to Give Good Feedback
When being a mentor and developing a relationship with your mentee it is important that you learn how to give good criticism and feedback. The reason that they asked you to become their mentor was so that they could grow and receive constructive criticism to help them become better in their career. The important thing to do is to make sure to give this criticism in the right way so as to not ruin the relationship or make them feel like they are not good at what they do.
The first thing that is important to do is to ask if you can give them feedback. This is important because it prepares them to receive criticism instead of being caught off guard. Remember that the reason that they asked you to be their mentor was so that they could learn and grow in their profession. They want your advice and your feedback so do not feel bad about giving it to them. Without it you cannot help them grow and achieve their goals.
Combine Positives and Negatives
The ‘feedback sandwich’ method is a very effective way to give feedback that your mentee will respond positively to. This method starts by:
- Focusing on their strengths and positives
- In the middle you discuss what they could improve upon or their negatives
- Talk again about their strengths and how if they follow this advice the positive outcomes it will have.
This is a great method because your feedback doesn’t seem like an attack or put them down as a person but instead just gives some suggestions on how they can improve on an already great job. The sandwich is great also because often we are quick to give people criticism but not praise their strengths.
Address The Situation Not The Person
It is important that when you are giving criticism you do not talk about the person but rather about the situation that should be changed. For example instead of saying “You are too quiet.” say “In meetings, I notice that you don’t speak up very often.” This way the criticism isn’t seen as a flaw in their personality but rather a mistake they are making in a certain situation. It is important to be specific with your feedback so that they can think back on that moment as well and make improvements in those certain situations.
Give Helpful Tips
It is important that you don’t just leave them with their feedback but rather give them ways in which they can improve as well. Give them specific things to work on so that they can reach towards those goals. Afterall, the reason that your mentee asked you to be their mentor was because they look up to you and aspire to be in your position.
Going off of the example “In meetings, I notice that you don’t speak up very often,” continue the feedback by giving suggestions. For example:
- “I know it can be intimidating being younger and less experienced, I remember being scared when I was in your shoes, but you are in this position and invited to these meetings because you are good at what you do, so hearing your opinions are vital.”
Giving them a confidence boost and reminding them that you also experienced the same thing and this isn’t something abnormal that they need to work on.
- Say, “My advice would be to try to say one contribution to a meeting a day, working towards that goal, you will find yourself diving into the conversations easier.”
This way they have the criticism but also know how they can work to improve on the negative.
Overall giving criticism is essential to helping a mentee improve and grow. Giving good constructive feedback will help them to be able to improve on things and not feel upset or attacked. Do not feel like you are attacking anyone when giving criticism, you are a mentor and your mentee wants you to help them grow.
Originally published at desmondong.org.